We’re halfway through September 2016, and after having ample opportunity to use my current setup, I thought I would share it. About 30 to 40 lbs depending on how much I leave home, this is for a 3-4 night trip, usually 3-5 miles in. I’ll also add some notes to each item on my list and links to reviews. If you would like more info on any of my gear shoot me an email, and I’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Rob’s 2016 Backcountry Gear List
- Hoyt Carbon Defiant 34 -it’s a dream shooting this bow. The draw cycle is wonderful, however, it was not easy to tune.
- Trophy Taker Quivalizer (read review) -probably the best gear upgrade for me this year. I removed 1 lb off my bow and tightened up my groups at longer distance shots. I was worried about how the quiver would hold my micro diameter arrows, but so far its been great.
- RipCord Ace Micro -I love that I can load an arrow during a stalk without having the arrow bounce around.
- Trophy Taker Option 6 (read review) -love this sight, but I also love my MBG Pure sight. I might switch back next year.
- Zelor 350 Arrows-I really like the weight and straightness of this shaft. however, the insert/outsert is not great.
- Solid 125 gr broadheads -Solid Broadheads are money! Incredible penetration and I did not need any broadhead tuning.
- Carter Wise Choice 4 finger release -I like this release, but would probably choose the Carter 1st choice if i had to do it again as my knuckle does rub the index finger hole during my draw.
- Exo Mountain Gear 5500 -this pack is ultra light, and will handle as heavy a load as you can. It simply inspires confidence to hunt where I want without fear that I will regret the pack out.
- Hilleberg Enan (read review) -after using this tent, i will not buy another brand tent. this is 2 lbs of backcountry insurance.
- Enan Footprint and fly only -I flip between this and my Jimmy Tarp during summer scouting.
Thermarest XTherm(repaired 2 holes, and I need to patch another) -warm and comfortable, got used to the loud crunchy noise. but I am sick of repairing it.
- Klymit Static V -heavy and not super comfortable, but has not let me down.
- Sierra Designs Zissou 12 -keeps me warm down to about 25 degrees without extra layers on
Optics and Tripods
- Swarovski SLC 10×42 -simply put, the best backcountry hunting binos you can buy. (call me for a great deal right now!)
- Leopold RX-1200i TBR -This rangefinder has been great, bowhunting and rifle hunting as well.
- Rick Young Ultralight Bino Harness (read review) -it works, but would rather have a place for calls and wind checker. Until i can find something better, this works for me.
- Vortex Razor 65mm spotting scope (read review) -best glass for your dollar. Held up well against the more expensive glass (read comparison), but I’m not super happy with the build quality compared the Swaro or Leica. I have had mine in for repair a few times now.
- Slik 624 tripod (which tripod is right for you?) I LOVE this tripod, it’s lightweight, stable and just the right size if you do the majority of your glassing from the side of a hill.
- Benro S2 fluid pan head (read review) LOVE this pan head. For the money, you won’t find a better head thats this light weight.
- QR4 quick release plate (Benro S2) -it’s on the heavy side but I don’t have to switch plates between devices
- FOR Rapid Release Binocular Tripod Adapter (read review) its the perfect match for your Vortex Binoculars or Swarovski SLC‘s
- Camera: Sony RX100iv -heavy and expensive for a point and shoot, but you can’t beat the performance and size.
- UltraPod. Nice little tripod for my point and shoot for those grip and grin selfies.
- Phone Skope
- First Lite Wilkin QZ (read review) -go to base top for early to mid season
- First Lite Dobson Boxers (read review) -perfect for early to mid season. Keeps your junk dry and the stink down
- First Lite Chama Hoody -perfect 2nd layer, love the hoody to keep the sun and wind off your neck
- First Lite Uncompahgre Jacket -lightweight insulation and weather protection. also makes the perfect backcountry pillow!
- First Lite Corrugate Guide Pants (read review) Comfortable and durable camo pants
- prAna Stretch Zion Pants -comfortable and durable and fairly quiet for nylon pants. perfect for early season and summer scouting
- First Lite Allegheny bottoms -not too hot if you get stuck with them on after a cold morning. And they do a great job of keeping the odor in check.
- First Lite Fingerless Talus gloves – My new favorite gloves. Warm, and you can still use your fingers.
- First Lite Neck Gaiter -wear this midweight neck gaiter in a ton of different ways to keep the chill down, or get the Aerowool neck gaiter for camo protection.
- First Lite Beanie -much more comfortable than a soft shell. I’m also looking forward to trying the new Tag Cuff Beanie in Oct.
- First Lite Trucker Hat -it’s fusion. it’s a ball cap. what more do you need?
- Salmon 3D XA Pro trail running shoes -comfortable, lightweight and strong. They keep my sweaty feet dry.
- First Lite Travers Gaiters -keeps crap out of your shoes and does a decent job at keeping your feet dry in tall wet grass
- Alaska game bags -lightweight and reusable. I have been using the same 6 bags for 3 years now.
- Outdoor Edge Razor-Blaze (read review) razor sharp replaceable blade knife that you dont need pliers to replace
- small amount of electrical tape -wrapped around my extra blades
- extra blades (2) -usually only need 2 blades for an elk, and 1 blade for a mule deer
- Large plastic bag -i use this to lay meat on, or to line my pack depending on how i pack out
- 30′ 550 para cord
Cooking and water system
- Jetboil Sol -solid performer, no complaints
- Titanium Spork -long handle to reach Mt house bottom
- GSI cup set -2 cups, outside cup is for oatmeal, inside cup is for coffee
- HydraPak 3L bladder -I like this bladder, very easy to clean, and easy to fill with Sawyer Rapid Fill Adapter
- Sawyer Squeeze water filter 1L (read review) works well for me however, I prefer using a platypus 3L bag for dirty water, it’s easier to collect water
- Costco Carbon trekking poles. I broke one (not in the field), but for $39/pair I can’t complain too much.
- Princeton Tech Remix Pro headlamp
- SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger -I’d rather have the Delorme Explorer, esp after 2 consecutive price increases. Would also be nice to be able to text my wife.
- Samsung S6
- Duct Tape -wrapped around my trekking pole
- Thermarest butt pad for glassing. I purchased the RidgeRest SOL lite and cut it up into 3 large pieces for the same price as one folded up small one.
- 2 packets quaker oatmeal (messy, include paper towel for cleanup)
- Coffee single packets
(might swap out this meal for chocolate covered coffee beans, seems easier and no need for cups..or water..or paper towel!)
- Caveman bar (Costco)
- Butthole sandwich (I use bacon, Nutella, and apple/cinnamon bagels)
- Cliff bar
- Mt House meal
My list is always changing and is nowhere near perfect, but for a guy who still has to buy all his own gear, I think I have a pretty darn good setup.